Category Archives: Book Store Travels

Capitol Book & News is CLOSING

If you’re near Montgomery, AL, in the next couple of days, it would be worth your while to swing by Capitol Book & News as they are closing this month. For good.

This little indie bookstore is the last in Montgomery. It’s been in business for 65 years. I didn’t realize it has not always been in its current location in Old Cloverdale. But according to the Montgomery Advertiser is used to be owned by someone else and located downtown. Downtown shops are fun, but man Old Cloverdale is one of the more idyllic spots for an indie shop.

Capitol Book reminds me of some of the great little book shops over in Savannah, GA that are so fun to walk around and visit.

So take a peek at the Advertiser article. I echo the owners’ hopes that someone else will step in and open an indie bookshop in Montgomery. The city would be better for it.

Free eBook: Follow a Few Literary Pilgrimages

This month Simon Goldhill’s Freud’s Couch, Scott’s Buttocks, Brontë’s Grave is the University of Chicago Press’s free eBook offering. I have not read it yet, but the book is all about writers, their homes and travel. When I travel I always look up local literary points of interest and local indie bookshops to visit. They are so much more interesting and telling than the usual sight-seeing fare.

freudscouchGoldhill’s book not only points the way to where these literary locations are, but also digs a little deeper in trying to connect the dots between these places and the writers that were there. I scanned a bit of it and he seems intent to tackle questions like:

Why did author go there? What were they looking for? What will you find if you go there today? Some of the historical sites of note, listed in the book, are:

  • Sir Walter Scott’s mansion
  • Wordsworth’s cottage
  • the Brontë parsonage
  • Shakespeare’s birthplace
  • Freud’s office

So if literary pilgrimages and bookstore tourism are your thing, be sure to check out UCP’s free eBook this month. (There are a few caveats: they use Adobe DRM, so you’ll need an  approved eReader app for that and a kindle fire may be the only kindle device that can read these free ebooks. I haven’t confirmed that though.)

Church Street Coffee & Books

Church Street Coffee & Books
81 Church Street
Birmingham, AL 35213
Church Street Coffee & Books
(site) @81ChurchStreet (twitter) Church Street (facebook)

Church Street opened its doors on July 2, 2011. I stopped by on opening day to see what they had to offer, in the way of books. The selection there was great! It’s not huge, but very well curated. You can tell that this is a shop isn’t just run by folks who like coffee… they are also readers. It doesn’t take a customer long to figure out that some real thought and research went into the books part of the business. The first thing you see when you walk in is a floor-to-ceiling double bookcase of fiction titles. It was great fun looking through what they had and it felt kind of like visiting a neighbor’s home and perusing their personal library. There is usually just one copy of a book on the shelf and no floor stacks of the latest big-name thriller. So stop by and see what Birmingham’s newest indie bookstore has to offer.

They also have about 8 tables and a couple of big comfy chairs to sit in. I didn’t check to see if they have wi-fi and it was too hot, of a day, for me to buy coffee. But I did pick up a copy of Deborah Blum’s “The Poisoner’s Handbook. It’s been my experience that coffee shops see books as an “add on” type deal. That’s obviously not the case here and I’m excited to see what they have to offer on down the road.

Below are some photos of what the shelves looked like on opening day.

This is what greets you when you enter the shop.
They have a mostly-fiction section under the banner “Summer Reads”
The kids section is tucked in the corner. Complete with bean bag chair.
I like the shelf talkers that start each section. The look like bookmarks.
The first case of non-fiction is to your right as you walk in.
The other case of non-fiction is across from the coffee counter.
Lots of books on little tables & around the registers. They even have books on the walls.

Books Etc. – Bookstore PhotoTour

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Books Etc. is the latest addition to our chronicling Birmingham-area bookstores. The shop is going on three-years-old and let me tell you, this is my kind of used-bookstore. It’s one of those places that is crammed with books to the point that you just have to meander about, letting serendipity do its thing. But you can also tell that a true book-person is over seeing the store. Most everything is shelved under category signs, which helps when you’re in a hurry.

More photos and details, after the jump.

Continue reading Books Etc. – Bookstore PhotoTour